The well-know phrase “those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it” has a personal meaning to Sami Steigmann.
Steigmann, a Holocaust survivor and motivational speaker, is coming to Chabad at Ohio University on Wednesday to speak about the difference between the Holocaust and genocide, hate and discrimination, and standing up for what people believe in.
“My main goal is to empower (people) to become active, not to be bystanders,” Steigmann said. “We have to be active now, because if we don’t learn from history, history will repeat itself.”
What: Holocaust survivor Sami Steigmann
Where: Chabad, 33 N. Court St.
When: 7 p.m.
The event will take place at Chabad, a Jewish student center, 33 N. Court Street, at 7:00 where attendants can enjoy a meet and greet. Bagels and lox will be provided and they can later listen to Steigmann speak and answer questions at 7:30. Students are welcome to ask as many questions as they want while at this event. Those who are interested in attending the event should RSVP on the Facebook .
“I am a very open person. You can ask me anything,” Steigmann said.
Steigmann believes education, tolerance and intervention are essential for people to understand. Steigmann wants individuals to learn from his past, rather than just feel sorry for him and encourages others to be educated and tolerant of differing ideas and opinions from their own.
“Tolerance means different things for different people,” Steigmann said. “For me, it’s accepting other people’s opinion and other people’s culture.”
Steigmann has been approached by people claiming that his story never happened and the Holocaust in general didn’t happen. Instances of that particular nature are the reason why Steigmann believes in education of both the Holocaust and tolerance are important to have.
The impact Steigmann has on his audiences has been very positive overall. People have hugged, took selfies and even asked for advice from Steigmann after hearing him.
“People remember me even years later,” Steigmann said.
Levi Raichik, the Rabbi at Chabad, hopes the event will bring people of all backgrounds together to have a better understanding of both Steigmann’s life and message as well as Jewish culture and history. This kind of event has been in the works for years, Raichik said.
“I think it will be a good opportunity to introduce them to the Jewish community,” Raichik said.
Chabad members are not looking to convert anyone who comes to the event. They instead want to educate attendees and introduce them to their community.
“We want to bring people by to see that it’s a community,” Joshua Chernomorets, a senior studying marketing and a member of the Student Board of Directors at Chabad, said. “Hopefully we can educate more people on campus.”
“Hate crimes against religious groups is still very present today, so it’s important to educate community members,” Chernomorets said.